Prime Minister Trudeau delivers remarks at a commemorative ceremony of remembrance in Vimy, France
Honoured veterans, friends, colleagues, Canadians; hello everyone. First, I would like to thank you for being here. It is an honour for me to have the opportunity to share a few words with you.
101 years ago this year, 7,004 Canadians were injured in the battle that started here, on Vimy Ridge. A total of 3,598 Canadians would not go home. At that time, Canada had only 8 million citizens. That was 100 years ago, but the realities of that war—with the tragic losses in combat, the magnitude of their sacrifice—that transcends the ages. You know that better than anyone.
Through your service you carried and continue to carry the legacy of those who, 100 years ago, fought in the trenches of the First World War. Through your bravery and your dedication to your country, you honour the memory of the young men who died right here on the battlefields of Vimy Ridge, and indeed all service members who have paid the ultimate price.
Today, Canadians remember who you are, what you stand for, and the history you defined. A history for which you bled and fought, a history built on your sacrifice.
You stand for the values upon which Canada was built; values like democracy, equality, justice, and liberty. And what I can barely know, you will never forget. Many of you have watched your friends, your brothers and sisters, die in your arms. You risked it all to help the most vulnerable, and free the oppressed. You chose to live your life in service of others, driven by a profound sense of duty. And for that Canadians can never thank you enough.
In times of war, and in times of peace, Canadians have had the privilege to count on you, our brave Canadians in uniform. Time and time again, we have counted on your courage, on your dedication, on your generosity. We all owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude.
On the centenary of the First World War armistice, there is a special place in our hearts for those who fought with courage for the values we hold dear. Those soldiers, past and present, who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country. I think about those who, each and every day, pay homage to the memory of members of the Canadian Armed Forces by choosing to serve Canada. I think about their children, their loved ones, their families and their friends who are also called upon to make considerable sacrifices. I think of you and your families. You make us proud.
On behalf of all Canadians, thank you for all you have done and continue to do for our country. We are eternally grateful.
From the very bottom of our hearts, thank you.